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How to get better answers from asking better questions

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Want to become a question asking ninja? Asking questions is a vital skill for all UX researchers and digital designers to master.

Asking questions is at the heart of uncovering ideas and opportunities that can then be translated into digital products and services, software and interfaces.

Here are some practical tips to answer:

1. What makes a good question?
2. How can I get better answers from my questions?
3. How can I get better at asking questions?

Published in: Design

How to get better answers from asking better questions

  1. 1. UX Camp Brighton 2016 I #UXCB16 Chris How I @chrishow How to get better answers from asking better questions Icon created by Rico Reinhold from Noun Project
  2. 2. In this session I’m going to give practical tips to answer (with your help): 1. What makes a good question? 2. How can I get better answers from my questions? 3. How can I get better at asking questions? Icon created by Rico Reinhold from Noun Project
  3. 3. If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on it, I would use the first 55 minutes to determine the proper questions to ask. Albert Einstein
  4. 4. Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers. Voltaire
  5. 5. The answers you get depend on the questions you ask. Thomas S. Kuhn
  6. 6. What makes a good question? Eight factors to consider Icon created by Rico Reinhold from Noun Project
  7. 7. A good question ?Icon created by Rico Reinhold from Noun Project ends in a question mark 1/8
  8. 8. ?t i p Icon created by Till Teenck from Noun Project Check your facilitation guide / survey / interview questions to make sure they start with or include either a: Why, How, Where, Who, What, When. You might be amazed how often this isn’t the case.
  9. 9. A good question ?Icon created by Rico Reinhold from Noun Project has a purpose 2/8
  10. 10. ?t i p Icon created by Till Teenck from Noun Project Write a statement for the purpose of the research. Review your questions against it. For each question make a note on why you are asking it. If you don’t know why you are asking a question delete it. Highlight your most essential question(s) to spend more time to probe in depth.
  11. 11. A good question ?Icon created by Rico Reinhold from Noun Project gives insight that is actionable 3/8
  12. 12. ?t i p Icon created by Till Teenck from Noun Project It’s easy to take up too much time enjoying a chat. Remember why you are there. Spend your time getting answers that inform your thinking on the project. Don’t ask interviewees for design solutions. Rather understand their problems that your design should solve.
  13. 13. A good question ?Icon created by Rico Reinhold from Noun Project opens up a conversation 4/8
  14. 14. ?t i p Icon created by Till Teenck from Noun Project Spot and edit question types that limit answers. Re-phase if not intentional: - Closed questions e.g. Do you like drinking tea in the morning? What was the last book you read? - Close-ended questions e.g. Do you prefer tea or coffee?
  15. 15. A good question ?Icon created by Rico Reinhold from Noun Project is neutral and free of bias 5/8
  16. 16. ?t i p Icon created by Till Teenck from Noun Project Spot and edit question types that limit answers. Re-write to remove bias: - Leading e.g. Would you agree . . ? Do you think . . .? - Charged words e.g. Tell me what you think of our exciting new design?’
  17. 17. A good question ?Icon created by Rico Reinhold from Noun Project is interesting 6/8
  18. 18. ?t i p Icon created by Till Teenck from Noun Project As you have to listen to multiple people respond to the same questions make sure they are interesting to ask and to answer. Look out for changes in body language that indicate engagement or boredom with the question. If an interviewee says ‘that’s a good question’ take note and re-use in other projects.
  19. 19. A good question ?Icon created by Rico Reinhold from Noun Project is short 7/8
  20. 20. ?t i p Icon created by Till Teenck from Noun Project Ask one thing at a time. Short questions are easier to listen to and understand (and analyse). Review your questions to look out for: - ands (avoid compound sentences) - commas (avoid subordinate clauses) - questions with more than 12 words
  21. 21. A good question ?Icon created by Rico Reinhold from Noun Project can be answered 8/8
  22. 22. ?t i p Icon created by Till Teenck from Noun Project Questions should help you learn not show off. Don’t make interviewees feel stupid. Be careful of jargon (client, sector, UX & digital words). Ask questions based on the interviewees experiences and behaviours. Avoid asking for conjecture or future predictions. ‘What do you do’ over ‘what would you do’. Get people to show you rather than tell you.
  23. 23. How can I get better answers from my questions? My five top tips Icon created by Rico Reinhold from Noun Project
  24. 24. ?t i p Icon created by Till Teenck from Noun Project Listen and observe more than you talk. Use the power of silence. 1/5 How can I get better answers from my questions?
  25. 25. ?t i p Icon created by Till Teenck from Noun Project Be aware of moderation bias. Avoid prompting, leading and confirming. 2/5 How can I get better answers from my questions?
  26. 26. ?t i p Icon created by Till Teenck from Noun Project Ask fewer questions but go deeper. Use the five whys. 3/5 How can I get better answers from my questions?
  27. 27. ?t i p Icon created by Till Teenck from Noun Project Know your killer question and when to ask it. 4/5 How can I get better answers from my questions?
  28. 28. ?t i p Icon created by Till Teenck from Noun Project Empower the interviewee. Unlock insight through interest and empathy. 5/5 How can I get better answers from my questions?
  29. 29. How can I get better at asking questions? My five top tips Icon created by Rico Reinhold from Noun Project
  30. 30. ?t i p Icon created by Till Teenck from Noun Project Do more of it. Improvement comes with practice and reflection. 1/5 How can I get better at asking questions?
  31. 31. ?t i p Icon created by Till Teenck from Noun Project Listen back critically to session recordings of yourself. However experienced you are you’ll find things to improve upon. 2/5 How can I get better at asking questions?
  32. 32. ?t i p Icon created by Till Teenck from Noun Project After each project reflect on which questions gave the best insight and why. Keep an ongoing list, iterate and re-use good questions. 3/5 How can I get better at asking questions?
  33. 33. ?t i p Icon created by Till Teenck from Noun Project Find time to watch other practitioners in action. Live or recorded. Experienced colleagues and those starting out. 4/5 How can I get better at asking questions?
  34. 34. ?t i p Icon created by Till Teenck from Noun Project Stretch yourself. Build your toolkit by asking a new question or trying a new activity in your next project. 5/5 How can I get better at asking questions?
  35. 35. UX Camp Brighton 2016 I #UXCB16 Chris How I @chrishow Thanks for listening Any questions? Icon created by Rico Reinhold from Noun Project

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